Adib Chowdhury was one of six students who undertook placements at the Cabinet Office recently organised by PSI. He reflects on how the placement helped him think about his future career plans.
Although I had no prior knowledge of the SME team, I quickly discovered that there was more to working with SMEs than was anticipated. The tasks I was allocated with, were analysing departmental spend for government branches and their spending with SMEs by assessing their monthly reports and, preparing graphs that would be presented via video conference to Whitehall. This provided a fascinating insight into how the system works as well as the level of cooperation and communication that is involved to ensure smooth transfer of information to all departments on improving policies.
An important aspect of this work experience was learning first-hand what it would be like to work in the civil service and the multitude of roles available in the civil service. We spoke to many civil servants, including senior civil servants, who gave us an insight into their career path. What struck me the most was just how varied a path they had, whereas I had previously assumed that the career path and entry to the civil service was very linear.
The scheme has helped me to understand what the civil service is really about as well as allowing me to gain a practical understanding of what it would be like to work within the service. Not only has it provided me with a brilliant base for contacts, I have also had invaluable advice from one of the Fast Stream assessors that has given me confidence to know what to expect and how to prepare for the application process after graduating.
I would highly recommend this scheme as it enables you to have something that makes you stand out from the crowd on your CV, a useful asset in today’s job-market.
• SME Procurement Policy team
Background to the team: This team leads policy work across Whitehall to drive more central government spending to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to support economic growth.